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New screening strategy to prevent cardiovascular complications in sports
Date:12/13/2013

screening process."

The "ideal" pre-participation screening (PPS) protocol in sports is cost-effective, has high diagnostic accuracy and is feasible in large populations. The European PPS protocol consists of personal and family history, physical examination and 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). There is controversy over whether adding echocardiography (ECHO) to the protocol increases the accuracy of screening and is cost-effective.

In the current pilot study, 500 healthy athletes aged 16-32 years (average age 21 5 years) including 446 males and 54 females (8:1) participating in sports like football, athletics, handball, cycling, basketball and gymnastics were examined in 2011-2013. All athletes were screened according to the European PPS protocol. Cardiovascular abnormalities were not detected in any of the athletes.

Conventional ECHO exams (M-mode and 2D modalities) were performed in all athletes. Cardiovascular abnormalities were found in 14 cases (2.8%). Seven (1.4%) had mitral valve prolapse (hemodynamically significant in 1 case), 3 (0.6%) had bicuspid aortic valve (significant aortic stenosis in 1 case) and 4 (0.8%) had myocarditis, myocardial bridging, noncompaction of the left ventricle or coronary artery fistula.

Dr Kisko said: "In 4 athletes the abnormalities we found with conventional ECHO required them to stop sports temporarily or permanently. The standard protocol was not accurate or sensitive enough to pick up potentially life threatening cardiovascular defects. But the addition of M-mode and 2D ECHO exams, which are quick and simple to perform and quite inexpensive, picked up abnormalities in 14 athletes."

He added: "Pre-participation sports screening is not very popular with athletes because they do not want to be excluded from their sport if a cardiac abnormality is found. But when an apparently healthy athlete dies suddenly it is a tragic event which may lead the public to believe that exercise is not
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Contact: Press Office
press@escardio.org
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European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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